Mental Health and Movies: How Are They Connected?


It’s crazy how a show or movie can change how you think about life,” says Ella Brinson and she is correct. It is amazing how one piece of film can entirely change your thinking process in good, and bad ways. A movie can suck you in, tumble you up and spit you right back out into reality. How do they leave an effect on you and your health?

            Romantic and comedy movies can have strongly positive effects on your mental health. They boost your mood and your physical health. Doctors have found that laughing causes your blood vessels to dilate, lowering your blood pressure. In an interview with Brendan Bischof, an HHS student, he said “comedy movies are the best because they are very relatable and relaxing.” Laughing also decreases stress hormones and boosts your immune system. Studies have shown that intense laughing for 10-15 minutes has the same effect on your cardiovascular system as exercising. Sad movies can also close off your brain’s access to anxiety. In a study where a group of students watched the movie “Atonement,” they reported that they immediately felt happier about their lives than they were before. Sad movies allow you to think about your loved ones and appreciate your life more than before. Although if you have a depression disorder, unfortunately, it may not work the same and may make you more depressed than before. But overall, comedy movies are one of the best ways to unwind and relax.

On the other hand, horror movies negatively affect your health. Watching scary or thrilling movies spikes your heart rate, and increases adrenaline, and blood pressure. These movies can also trigger traumatic memories or troubling pasts that your brain has blocked since your body is mimicking how you felt during those traumatic events. Two thirds of my interviewees said they enjoy horror movies.  So why do some people enjoy horror movies? Well, one reason is that we crave stimulation. Exposure to terrifying events or even the suspense from those events can stimulate us mentally and physically. In an interview with Sarah Saulten, an HHS student, she states “I can even find horror movies funny.” This is from the excitement and satisfaction some receive when enjoying a horror movie. The blend of excitement and anxiety is what tricks our brains into pleasure. Another reason people enjoy horror movies is to live out an alternative reality. For example, apocalypse movies allow us to experience another reality, safely of course. Finally, horror films allow us to satisfy curiosity about the dark side of the human psyche. Because we are an inherently curious species, many of us are fascinated and mesmerized by what our kind is capable of. All in all, kind of creepy.

            In conclusion, movies not only entertain us and offer us a chance to escape from reality, but they also affect our mental health and behavior astronomically. Movies can give us an opportunity to reflect on our lives and give us a new perspective on things. No matter how movies affect us we should all agree that film is a beautiful form of art.


Ella Brinson, HHS student

Sarah Saulten, HHS student

Brendan Bischof, HHS student,to%20improve%20cognition%20and%20memory.,the%20sensations%20as%20real%20threats.